August 23, 2010

Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple Structure - Part 4

Read: Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple Structure Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.


Tirunelveli is ancient town located in the southern part of India. It has one of the oldest and biggest temples of South India - Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi temple. Even though the temple of Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi temple is a single temple, it can be considered as two separate temples due to its structural style. In three of my previous posts, I wrote the structure of Kanthimathi temple and the portion of the temple connecting Kanthimathi temple and Nellaiyappar temple. In this article, I am writing about the structure of Nellaiyappar temple.

The sculpture of Vali - Tirunelveli Nellaiyappar Temple
Once you finish visiting the Kanthimathi temple and enter into Nellaiyappar temple via the Sangili Mandapa, you can visit the shrine of Dakshinamurti. This is basically the biggest corridor (prakara) of Nellaiyappar shrine. If you turn towards your left and move forward, you can find small shrines of Sankaralingam (Shiva) and Gomathy Amman. Diagonally opposite to this small shrine, there is a big shrine, almost like a small separate temple, for Shanmukha aka Arumuganainar (Lord Muruga with six heads) is located. He is found along with his two consorts Valli and Devasena. The speciality of this shrine is that you can see even the sixth face of Muruga which is located behind. Normally, it may not be possible in other temples. Next to this shrine, there is a shrine for a very big idol of Lord Ganesha. Opposite to this there is an entrance with a small temple tower.

If you go further into the corridor, you can find the temple elephant. There is a shrine for ferocious idol of Bhairav. You can also find a small shrine for Meenakshi and Sundareswarar (Shiva). The Navagraha (nine planets) located opposite to Sundareswarar shrine is very famous. This is located very near to the main entrance of Nellaiyappar shrine. You can also find the shrines of Vanniadi Sattanar, an open ground space for religious discourses, Anwarnathan (Shiva's shrine built by a Muslim commander Anwar Khan), and various idols of Nayak rulers who ruled Tirunelveli in the corridor.

I will write about the structure of the main shrine of Nellaiyappar in the next post. Till then...

Happy travelling.

Procession statue of Bheem - Nellaiyappar Temple

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Nellaiyappar and Kanthimathi Temple
City Name: Tirunelveli
Highlights:

1) One of the oldest and biggest temples of South India
2) Musical Pillars
3) Beautiful sculptures
4) One of the five adobes of Nataraj
5) One of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam temples
Location: 180 kms from Madurai; 620 kms from Chennai; Located in the Southern part of Tamil Nadu state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Tirunelveli; Tirunelveli station is a popular train junction; you can find a lot of trains from all over India to this city
Nearest Airport: Madurai (around 180 kms)
How to reach: Easily reachable by road and train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available in Tirunelveli
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in Tirunelveli; Don't forget to taste the Halwa either from Iruttu Kadai or Shanti Sweets



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